PDA

View Full Version : Who is a certified master gardner?


Outdoors_Unlimited
07-22-2009, 12:11 AM
My story real quik.

12 years on and off for a guy that went from just a tad bigger than I am now, to 15+ employees. But hes a "lawn jockey" and thats all he knows, but good at it. After a while we got into landscape maint. and I learned pruning shrubs, sprinklers, and a crew under me can do 100+ yards a day on the right jobs.

I ventured into hardscaping for a min while we had a quabble. Picked up alot in the short time I did it.

Ventured into tree trimming for another minute. Learned to climb and started my own "tree service". Fairly sucessful with it but it wasnt steady.

So this spring I have bought a lawn more and aquired 32 lawns my first year. Doing great with that. Putting together the contracts now for full on maintenance. Im gonna start a who i am thread real soon to help "new" guys.

I am hearing rumors of $65 an hour as a master gardner. And I have located the training to become a MSU extension cert. master gardner. Doing it this winter I think.

I guess my question is, whos certified, and during a ideal market what can I expect for my time on the site, and also time for laborers I would bring.

My goal is to have my brother running my lawn crew in the next 2 years so I will not have to mess with it (I HATE mowing lawns), and then I am going to put together a full scape crew that I can start in the morning, show the job, and get to estimates and meetings.

Thanks for all your info that I know will follow. This site rocks.

Think Green
07-22-2009, 12:53 AM
O.U.,
I am not a registered master gardener by certification, however this field may be beneficial in your location. In my location, the master gardener program is geared for individuals whom, work for local nurseries, but are retired or on their way retired business women. The male nursery owners are licensed landscapers!!! A small personal group of gardener's asked me to join their efforts in supporting the area. The problem with our program is that they want you to perform 40 hrs a month or more of free services and teaching to new comers. That is the problem........not many newcomers to the program.!! It is not a dying group, it is a slow moving group that dwells in the natural or organic approach to gardening. Since I apply chemicals, they are a bit smug with the thought of my joining. It doesn't matter anyway!!!!
There are benefits to these groups socially and for personal benefit and gain, but for me, it is out of the way and hard to find the extra time for.
Have you thought of (becoming or maybe) you are already a licensed Nurseryman! I was a Licensed Arkansas Nurseryman whom didn't grow my own plants but carried the title for a mega-giant company. It was a good title to carry, but it was way over-rated. The title of licensed Landscaper will hold just as much water as a master gardener and a licensed nurseryman.!
The many times of travel to our State Venues on landscaping and design, the titles of landscaper was often overlooked as a glorified lawn boy and the name of nurseryman and master gardener seemed to separate the mentality of the two ends...????
The state of Arkansas mandates that if you carry the name of Landscaping in your business, you must be licensed in Landscaping..and have a contractor number! It is a often used name for those whom aren't licensed in landscapes at all. Each state has their own laws.!!!!
To end my speech, most of the master gardener's either have done landscaping or currently work in the field. The vast majority of our members are of the elderly groups and the newbies aren't even interested in the ventures. I am one of them!

We do tree work as well as you, and it can be a full time job or it can be a seasonal or storm related field. We had an awesome winter, then within the last couple of months, the work has slowed down. The weather sways tree services.!! You can go from busy as heck---to dead as a nail!!!
The one thing that stays on the track is lawn mowing--fertilizing--weed control--insect control, pruning, mulching, hardscapes, annual and perennials. There is much more out there if you want to get really into debt!!

I hope your quest is fruitful!!
In my area, your dream isn't a reality without much of a financial back-up!
The other area is of competant employees whom will show up every day to work!

txgrassguy
07-22-2009, 09:52 AM
I am a Turfgrass Agronomist and have been for almost twenty years. The local to me Master Gardner organization approached me to "join". Several things I found out.
1. They only wanted me for the freebies like tree spraying, r.u. pesticide application, irrigation work.
2. The amount of "volunteer" time demanded was simply astonishing. Here I am working 70+ hrs per week running my own business. The remaining amount is taken up with serious competitive shooting prep/tournament. Oh yes, let's not forget the "no weapons allowed" policy either.
3. I was subject to the most inane and ridiculous scrutiny, I was told my being a Penn State grad didn't "cut-it" and that I would have to pass a series of tests along the way.
They sure as hell didn't like it when I corrected the test given due to the multiple errors in the question format.
So I said no thanks and don't call again. A couple months later I am a approached again by these knuckleheads. Seems now they want to expand their volunteering and wanted me to "donate" one of my six trailers to them. Told me they would "put out the good word" on me. I cannot really repeat what I told those bags here but three left crying and one spit up their drink.
I simply will not tolerate that type of weenie yanking bullsh1t.

Az Gardener
07-22-2009, 01:36 PM
My experience has been similar. retires and college students who know just enough to be dangerous and look down their nose at the field guys.

Here We have the Arizona Certified Landscape Professionals test and certification. It is 11 sections hands on, meaning you plant and stake trees you lay sod you plant a flower bed, Etc. There is also a written portion, you have 35 min at each station to do both parts then you have 5 min to get to the next station. Only 7% of the people taking it for the first time pass.
it covers

Seasonal Color and Shrub Pruning (I teach and proctor this portion)
Irrigation
Water management
Soils and Fertilizer
Plant ID
Tree Pruning
Tree Planting and Staking
Pests and Disease ID
Turf ID and Sod laying
Calibrations and Chemical Safety
Equipment Safety


I would bet less than 1% of Master Gardeners could pass that test.

Brick One Lawns
07-22-2009, 07:27 PM
Master Gardener = Joke

If that's all you are is a Master Gardener, in this area... and to me... it's a joke. You know just enough to get punched by a professional landscaper.

With that though, I will say, it's another notch in the ol' bedpost if you wanted to add it to your rep. That way, there wouldn't ever be an argument with another "master gardener". Looks good on the side of your truck or card as well.

shovelracer
07-22-2009, 08:31 PM
Wow, Ive been mumbling garbage for years and it turns out I'm not alone. I have run into many of these. My findings are the same as everyone's. As far as clients that are MG's I've had a few. I've never been fed more BS, talked down as much, or told how to do my job, by all my other clients combined in my life than I would get from just one of these customers in a year. 95% of the information they came to me with was garbage, like treat my lawn for grubs 4 times a year!, dont ever cut when the ground is wet (like everyday for the last 3 months), I want my pre-emergent put down the same week the forsythia bloom, etc. Again retirees that think they know everything, but dont want to do the work themselves.

txgrassguy
07-22-2009, 10:28 PM
[QUOTE With that though, I will say, it's another notch in the ol' bedpost if you wanted to add it to your rep. That way, there wouldn't ever be an argument with another "master gardener". Looks good on the side of your truck or card as well.[/QUOTE]

Yet another experience with these alleged master gardeners, NOT ONE OF THEM understood what "Agronomist" means - and Agronomist is on my truck, business cards and letterhead.
The mispronunciation, lack of knowledge, and overall superior attitude I encounter with these knuckleheads leaves me glad I never "joined".
The main antagonist actually had M.G. after their name - and they really didn't like it when I asked if it stood for Major Goofus.

White Gardens
07-23-2009, 11:04 PM
I took the course, but I haven't kept up on my MG volunteer hours to keep my MG status.

I loved the course work and the hands on and open class setting. It really help me to fill in the areas of Landscaping that I was hazy on.

I can tell people I took the course but I can't make any profits as a MG.

Regardless, it's a free organization and you can't do business as a MG. If you take any money, you are supposed to give it back to the local extension.

It's a liability thing.

Outdoors_Unlimited
07-25-2009, 03:58 AM
I took the course, but I haven't kept up on my MG volunteer hours to keep my MG status.

I loved the course work and the hands on and open class setting. It really help me to fill in the areas of Landscaping that I was hazy on.

I can tell people I took the course but I can't make any profits as a MG.

Regardless, it's a free organization and you can't do business as a MG. If you take any money, you are supposed to give it back to the local extension.

It's a liability thing.

Your responce is the reason I love this site!

Ive read this thread all week from my phone, to busy to post. I am going to take my master gardner, as it sounds easy, and I will take the knowledge. I will NOT do the volunteer work as I dont want the title now. And then I will now find my step to pursue after this. I am trying to decide. Do i stay solo with NO headaches, or big with lots of them.

LandscapeSavannah
07-25-2009, 04:34 PM
I know a couple "master gardeners" you cannot correctly identify shrubs, flowers, or turf correctly. Much less the care or conditions it thrives in.

Marcos
07-25-2009, 05:22 PM
Master Gardener = Joke



I agree about 90% with this.
Many people I know who are master gardeners seem to want to try to use this title as some kind of false ego crutch.
A few of them are indeed very well versed, but tend not to display such egotistical traits.
Almost all of them seem to be old geezers with time on their hands, both male & female.

White Gardens
07-25-2009, 07:43 PM
Why are all you guys bashing the MG's.

They do good things for the community, and sure some are snobby, but at least they are out there volunteering their time, instead of doing stupid crap in their spare time.

As for the one post about MG's not being able to identify plants, that's not what the course is about. It's a course on many things, not specifically on plant identification. If you have a plant ID question, you take a sample to the MG office and look up info with the library of books at hand.

I took the course, and made many friends. Regardless if some MG's rub you the wrong way, I really feel most of you are making assumptions.

Take the course, then you guys can complain about them.

Marcos
07-27-2009, 02:06 PM
Why are all you guys bashing the MG's.

They do good things for the community, and sure some are snobby, but at least they are out there volunteering their time, instead of doing stupid crap in their spare time.

As for the one post about MG's not being able to identify plants, that's not what the course is about. It's a course on many things, not specifically on plant identification. If you have a plant ID question, you take a sample to the MG office and look up info with the library of books at hand.

I took the course, and made many friends. Regardless if some MG's rub you the wrong way, I really feel most of you are making assumptions.

Take the course, then you guys can complain about them.

The biggest problem with MG programs is that they are taught by other established Master Gardeners.
And many long-established MG's you'll meet will usually have a twisted & distorted mix of both 100% valid and 100% completely insane, off-the-cuff bulls*** green advice coming out of their mouths.

Not unlike what you'll likely see on any given Lawnsite forum any given day of the week! :laugh:

White Gardens
07-27-2009, 08:41 PM
The biggest problem with MG programs is that they are taught by other established Master Gardeners.
And many long-established MG's you'll meet will usually have a twisted & distorted mix of both 100% valid and 100% completely insane, off-the-cuff bulls*** green advice coming out of their mouths.

Not unlike what you'll likely see on any given Lawnsite forum any given day of the week! :laugh:

No they are not.

The MG course is taught by Professors from the local state universities.

Each individualized section was taught by someone certified to teach it, and the course actually counts as continuing education and credit towards a degree.

Maybe our course structure was different than others, but as far as I know it's a world-wide organization with set guidelines for each chapter.

We are only supposed to give advice within the means of our MG training. After that, all questions are directed to the extension leader.

hencutter
07-29-2009, 02:40 AM
Yep, I had 1 client tell me in a 15 minute conversation that she was a ' Master Gardener" 3 times. Instructed us to put more mulch on her azaleas than was needed. Then had the county ag agent tell her that the mulch was too thick, so now it is our fault.

NIXRAY
07-29-2009, 07:47 PM
Seeings how you we are in the same state, and we share the interest in regards in, is a "MG" status really cut out for what us green industry professionals are looking for. I personally have looked into what MSU offers, and I've talked to some friends of mine that carry a MG status..MY conclusion is if you want to volunteer with a community garden, that "community" Will adore you, do I think its a beneficial or profitable move...NO..(that's just my conclusion), I've found (and will be enrolling this fall) this...http://mnla.org/edu/mcn... I'll be going for the new :cool2: *Landscape Management Specialist* – (For Landscape Management Professionals) and possibly the *Retail Specialist* – (For Garden Center Professionals)..
Hopefully this info helps you on your decision

93Chevy
07-29-2009, 08:44 PM
I've found that master gardeners are pretend landscapers. They have a lot of knowledge, and we can debate whether that knowledge is correct or not, but no hands on experience. I know a recent MG "grad." He works full time at my local farm/feed store. He can ID most plants, diseases, insects, etc. However, he has no mechanical ability. He does not know how to run a shovel or wheelbarrow.

I had been debating on taking the MG course, but can't bring myself to do it because of volunteer commitment. They probably wouldn't like me too much either, as I am a fan of chemicals and know how to work with my hands. If I read enough books and get my applicators license, then I would have no problem out-gardening a MG.

White Gardens
07-29-2009, 09:46 PM
I've found that master gardeners are pretend landscapers. They have a lot of knowledge, and we can debate whether that knowledge is correct or not, but no hands on experience. I know a recent MG "grad." He works full time at my local farm/feed store. He can ID most plants, diseases, insects, etc. However, he has no mechanical ability. He does not know how to run a shovel or wheelbarrow.

I had been debating on taking the MG course, but can't bring myself to do it because of volunteer commitment. They probably wouldn't like me too much either, as I am a fan of chemicals and know how to work with my hands. If I read enough books and get my applicators license, then I would have no problem out-gardening a MG.


MG's have no problems with condoning the use of chemicals, either pesticide or insecticide. There is even a section on how to read the labels correctly and they inform the students of who and where someone can spray and what licenses are needed to apply commercially.

93Chevy
07-29-2009, 11:41 PM
I should have considered that beforehand. Pardon my ignorance.

White Gardens
07-30-2009, 01:04 AM
I should have considered that beforehand. Pardon my ignorance.


I'm not trying to say anyone is ignorant.

Honestly, I've taken this thread personally. I just feel like everyone is making assumptions about the MG program that isn't true. It's almost like racism. What I mean by that is the actions of the few are giving the group a bad reputation it doesn't deserve.

Me personally, I'm an equal opportunity offender. :laugh:

Like I've said before, I'm sure some of you guys have run into some odd MG's, but over-all the course is great, and the networking associated with the MG program is excellent.

Some of the more qualified MG's do radio shows, public TV shows, fundraisers, community gardens, and they even get the children involved.

Az Gardener
07-30-2009, 02:01 AM
I'm not trying to say anyone is ignorant.

Honestly, I've taken this thread personally. I just feel like everyone is making assumptions about the MG program that isn't true. It's almost like racism. What I mean by that is the actions of the few are giving the group a bad reputation it doesn't deserve.
It just seems that the few are all over the country with the same habits.
Me personally, I'm an equal opportunity offender. :laugh:

Like I've said before, I'm sure some of you guys have run into some odd MG's, but over-all the course is great, and the networking associated with the MG program is excellent.

Some of the more qualified MG's do radio shows, public TV shows, fundraisers, community gardens, and they even get the children involved.
That last one probably sticks in our craw the worst. You have heard the saying just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I don't know what their continuing education program is like but I just have not seen evidence of them being on the ball as far as the latest research is concerned.

They hold them selves up as experts in the industry when this is a part time hobby for the majority them. Here we have a situation where they come from other parts of the country and promote practices that my work fine in Ohio or Maine but are exactly opposite of whet we need here.

There is no doubt there is an ego component to this too. MG's are well connected and do get more opportunities to play the expert. the problem is they are hobbyists and are many times just parroting what they learned which could have been in 1978.

Meanwhile the working professional who does this day in and out has practical working knowledge to go along with the horticultural knowledge never gets a opportunity to be the plant rock star on the radio or quoted in a magazine.

Then the final nail in the coffin is when a MG contradicts a landscape professional without knowing all the facts or the benefit of the continuing education many of us aggressively pursue

White Gardens
07-30-2009, 11:16 PM
Then the final nail in the coffin is when a MG contradicts a landscape professional without knowing all the facts or the benefit of the continuing education many of us aggressively pursue

All I'm going to say, and I'm done,

You have to attend seminars and classes as continuing education in order to maintain your MG status.

Az Gardener
07-30-2009, 11:57 PM
I am glad that there is some CEU's required to keep certified. I will just say that your interest level is heightened when your family's livelihood depends on it.

I will also concede that the majority of contractors are not as educated as they should be as far as horticulture goes.

You might just pass on to your MG brethren the hostility the industry has towards them and why. So if they are inclined to work on their image they know where to start.